The Manipur State Legal Services Authority (MASLSA) on Thursday observed the Legal Services Day cum Commendation Ceremony 2023 at the Conference Hall, ADR Building, Lamphel Court Complex in Imphal.
The event aimed to promote access to justice and to celebrate the achievement of the workforce of the Legal Services Institutions by recognizing the exemplary services of the panel lawyers, para legal volunteers, mediators, legal aid clinics & other legal services functionaries in the state for their services and contribution to the cause of ‘Access to Justice’, stated a release.
Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur & Patron-in-Chief, MASLSA, Justice Siddharth Mridul; Judge, High Court of Manipur & Executive Chairman, MASLSA, Justice A Bimol Singh and judges of High Court of Manipur, Justice A Guneshwar Sharma and Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu were among those present at the programme, stated a release.
During the event, Justice Siddharth Mridul said legal services institutions are to reach out to those marginalised & disadvantaged sections of society, adding that the scope of legal services should be expanded to reach all those who require legal assistance, it stated.
He also recalled the steps taken by the Delhi High Court under His Executive Chairmanship of Delhi State Legal Services Authority where, by Judicial Order, PLVs were posted in all the 250 Police Stations round the clock so as to assist parents of missing children, it said. The Chief Justice further extended the scope of service to those cases of sexual violence against minors, the release mentioned.
He vouched for the implementation of the direction of the Supreme Court for deployment of PLVs in all the police stations in Manipur. In case of Manipur, the scope should be further extended to all those persons who are summoned by the police, persons who approached the police station for registering of FIR, he proposed. In all cases, the PLV will be informing the concerned person of their legal rights so that the legal aid can be extended even in cases of pre-arrest stage, it maintained.
Speaking on the sidelines, Justice A Bimol Singh highlighted the achievement of the legal functionaries for 2023 stating that 237 marginalized sections of society availed legal aid counsel in conducting their cases; 15,329 individuals availed legal advice/counselling through different Legal Aid Clinics and front offices; 96 different cases were successfully resolved under Alternative Dispute Resolution Centres; 691 cases were settled in National Lok Adalat with total settlement amount of rupees 8.74 crores and 511 programmes on various legal topics through community participation, TV, Radio, Social Media etc. were organised by MASLSA and DLSAs, it mentioned.
The office of MASLSA was able to open 304 special legal aid & services clinics at various relief camps where 456 Para Legal volunteers were appointed to man the clinics, it stated. So far 3,864 FIRs have been registered for the victims of recent violence, it noted.
Above spreading legal awareness and highlighting various schemes for the victims, the PLVs are also assisting in reconstruction of lost documents such as educational certificates, Aadhar cards, voter ID, job cards etc, the release said. Following the government’s approval of the Manipur Compensation Scheme for women victims, 2023 dated September 14, 2023, the office of MASLSA has awarded compensation to 36 women victims amounting to Rupees 41.45 lakhs, it stated.
Retired UDC, 94-year-old B Bihari Sharma was accorded the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' by Justice Siddharth Mridul in recognition of his exemplary services rendered as a functionary of MASLSA for 32 long years, it mentioned. Various awards were also presented to commendable persons on the occasion, it added. District-level best panel lawyers, PLVs & legal aid clinics were also feted with cash awards and certificates, it stated.
The event was also attended by the Commissioner (Law), Government of Manipur; chairpersons and secretaries of District Legal Services Authorities; Registrar (Judl.), High Court of Manipur, judicial officers, nominated members of MASLSA, panel advocates, mediators, para legal volunteers; media persons; officers & staff of legal services authorities and High Court of Manipur, it added.